Asakusa Temple: A temple for the Buddhist goddess of mercy Kannon.
Exiting the train station there is a mixture of Japanese tourists and foreign tourists. Before finding my way to the temple, my friend and I got directions from a tour guide. The tour guide worked for a company that gave rickshaw rides around the area. Though we didn’t want a ride, he still offered valuable information about the area and popular places to visit. We eventually made our way to the temple which is actually quite close to the station. The first thing we arrived at was the Kaminarimon Gate, also known as the Thunder Gate, which has the guardians, Fujin and Raijin on each side. Once you walk through the gate, you are instantly immersed into markets. The walkway to the main part of temple is lined with shops. The shops sell souvenirs, snacks, and traditional Japanese clothes. A lot the things are reasonably priced and the snacks are quite delicious, though when I bought a snack I had to eat it directly in front of the shop. The next thing I found myself at was the giant incense burner. My friend told me that the Japanese people waft
the smoke over them for good health and luck. To the side of the incense burner is a mekuji, which is something like fortune telling. You go up to the stand and there is a metal cylinder, you are supposed to shake and think of a wish, once you thought of it, you shake out a metal tab that has a number inscribed on it. With that number you find the drawer with the same number and pull out your fortune. If you fortune is bad, you are to tie it to on these wires that are by the stall. Luckily, my fortune was good! Past the incense burner is the main hall, where people can toss coins and light candles to pay respects.
After checking out the temple, my friend and I walked around, seeing other shops outside of the temple. Around the temple are streets full of nice small shops and diverse cuisine. I went into a traditional Japanese paper shop….it had stationary that was scented…. There is also a TOTORO shop there as well. One thing I was really excited about was the sweet potato icecream that my friend and I had. It was mix of vanilla
and sweet potato…quite excellent.
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